Thursday, 18 June 2015

Unique 3 step check to finding the best breed for you

‘What breed will fit with our lifestyle?’ Perfect Pet Sitter believes this is a key question everyone should ask themselves before taking on the responsibility of a dog. Here are some really helpful pointers to answer this vital question.

A good place to find out more is to understand why breeds are categorised into 7 dog Groups:

Gun dog group
Working group

Extensive information is available on line about each of the 7 Groups where you will find descriptions of look, size, personality and traits of every breed.  As well as being highly informative, you discover surprising facts. For example, wouldn’t you think Border Collies would be classified as working dogs? In fact they are in the Pastoral dog Group where you find many cattle/herding dogs – but also, and looking out of place, Corgis. However, they were herding dogs centuries ago.

Once you’ve looked at the Groups, a key next step is to take an honest and objective look at your circumstances. Doing this can make the difference between making a great match – or doggie disaster.


Physical match:
Size is a very obvious first factor to keep in mind as we are often drawn by the size of a dog. Some large breeds are ‘all show and no go’ such as Great Danes who, whilst big, don’t need masses of exercise. But others are big AND strong AND active (such as Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Weimaraners and Pointers.) Keep in mind big dogs (especially when pups) can be clumsy. As such they might not ideal for a family with small children who can get bowled over.

As a potential owner it's helpful to keep in mind your age and physical limits when taking on a big dog. As we age and so does our big dog, will we be able to lift them to help them in and out of the car if needed? 

Zara one of our regulars finding another RR to play with
Example, someone I know had a Rhodesian Ridgeback who had been quiet & sedate for years before he eventually died at 12.  Missing him she bought a beautiful RR puppy. This puppy is only 10 months but is already big and very powerful. Also, like every other puppy, she’s living up to her job description of playing, jumping, lunging and pulling. This challenging puppy phase can last two years. I can't help thinking that for this petite lady, now in her 70’s, a doggie down size might have been a better option as she will be in her 80's when her dog is 10.

Nice little dogs, Chilli & Jack Russell cheeky Sie

When we realise a large dog is no longer practical, it could be time to ‘doggie down size’. For a small dog with a great personality, check out Jack Russells. JRs - big dogs that happen to be in little bodies – active, feisty and full of doggitude. I’ve got to know many of them as Perfect Pet Sitter and the more I meet, the more I like them. But some can be inclined to nip unless the have an experienced dog owner. 

I've looked after Cavoodles and Shitzu crosses and all have their own endearing ways. Ideal is to chat to someone who already owns a breed you are thinking about and ask them some questions (although keep in mind, most people will favour their choice and tell you their breed is best!)

Molly aka the Moppet: -
cute little Shitzu!

Energy match: 
Most dogs need to be taken out daily – ideally for an hour. In some cases some breeds would be happier with more than that. (In my previous blog I compared two highly active dogs – one from the Gun Dog Group (a Pointer) with a dog from the Pastoral Group [a Border Collie]  *You can view that blog here). Be honest - do you have not just the energy, but the willingness to devote the time needed to exercise if it's an active breed you’re considering? Will you take them out every day?  If that's not realistic then fine, but look for a breed that will not be stressed if it misses a walk occasionally and/or doesn’t need long walks.
Here are just a few examples:
British Bulldog; Greyhound; Pug.

Fabulous Freya - Lab X Boxer
Environmental match:
Your dog’s environment is vital. A home with small children means you need a dog that can cope with rough and tumble and never retaliate. So a very small dog could get hurt by children who sometimes don’t realise their strength. Equally, as mentioned earlier, big dogs are sometimes clumsy and can unintentionally knock children off their feet.

And what about your home? Dogs need somewhere sheltered from heat, sun, rain and cold – and they need to be safe. If you have to work, where will your dog be housed during the day? If indoors will it have access to the outside? If outside is it going to bother your neighbours barking because it’s bored? Most of all, can you truly give a dog the life it deserves?

On the left is a cracking cross - Freya. She is half boxer and half Labrador and her nature is a wonderful mixture of both breeds. She lives with a two year old boy and is bomb proof. He can climb on her, pull her ears - the lot - she simply walks away if she's had enough!



There are so many wonderful dogs it really is worth the time to do a little homework to find the right one for you.

Taking the time to do that research and answer the above questions could help match you with the right breed so you can look forward to many years of pleasure with your chosen furpal.

Every dog needs a place in the home where it can retreat and know it will be left in peace. It’s own bed in, ideally in a corner, where it can be quiet and relax and know it will not be disturbed. This is a key factor in a dog’s mental welfare. If children are new to dogs they need to know when the family puppy (or adult dog) goes to their bed, they should not be disturbed.

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